Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Chocolates can be highly harmful to cats. Most cats will not eat chocolates on their own. Often, it is the pet owners who give them as a treat. The toxic compound found in chocolate is called theobromine. It can cause unusual heart beats, seizures, tremors, and even death.

What Chocolate Types Are Toxic To Cats?

Listed below are chocolate varieties that can be very harmful to cats. It is arranged based on the Theobromine toxicity from worst to least:

  • Baking chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate

How Much Of Chocolates Can Be Harmful To Cats?

This depends on two factors:

  • The weight of the feline and
  • The amount of the chocolates eaten by the cats

Note: It is known that a sum as little as 20mg of the toxic substance can be harmful to the cats.

Chocolates are derived from the roasted seeds of cacao plants, theobromine and caffeine being the main poisonous ingredients present in chocolate. Consuming these ingredients lead to a host of problems in cats. Thus cats and chocolate can never be in harmony. Enlisted below are the common symptoms seen in cats after chocolate poisoning.

Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning In Cats

  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nervousness
  • Tremors/muscle twitching
  • Seizures
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Seizures
  • Excessive panting
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Coma
  • Death

The above mentioned symptoms raise the question, “Can cats eat chocolate?” and the symptoms vary on the kind of chocolate consumed by the cats. The most harmful chocolates that can be consumed by cats are the milk chocolate, baking chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolates. Thus it is certain that cats and chocolate are not meant for each other.

How Theobromine Affects Cats?

The Theobromine affects cats in a couple of ways. It affects various organs in the body of cats such as the heart, stomach, nervous system and so on.

  • Theobromine is considered to be a stimulant that significantly hastens the rate of the heart.
  • This ingredient present in the chocolates acts as a diuretic and thus increases the loss of the fluids from the body. It hastens the production of urine.
  • Theobromine even makes the stomach upset.
  • The nervous system of the felines is also affected by the harmful effects of Theobromine. Hence it is clear that cats and chocolate should never be together.

Detailed Examination Done By Veterans On Cats To Determine Chocolate Poisoning

In case a cat consumes any of the kind of chocolates mentioned above, she should be brought to the veterinarian immediately. The veteran will perform an array of tests that include electrolyte panel, blood profile (chemical) as part of a physical examination.

The veterinarian even conducts a urine analysis to confirm the overdose of the harmful effects of the ingredients of theobromine and caffeine in the cats. An ECG is also done to check if there are any abnormalities in the conduction or the rhythm of the heart beats. This explains the commonly asked question, Can cats eat chocolate?

The Treatment For Cats In Case Of Chocolate Poisoning

While the cat is waiting to be evaluated by the veterinarian, she should be calmed and kept in a cool place to maintain the chocolate poisoning symptoms from reaching a high level. The veterinarian can suggest inducing vomiting to prevent the chemicals present in the chocolates from being digested in the cats to prevent seizures from occurring.

With the improvement in the condition of the cats, enough fluid is administered to keep these felines hydrated and prevent any other complications from developing. The cats are also given medications to control the multitude of side effects from growing. In the case of emergency, the cat has to be incubated, and cardiac monitoring has to be done. The cat may also be placed on a ventilator till she is completely out of danger. After the cat is out of danger, she should be given only bland diets until at least a week until her condition totally improves.

How Theobromine Works?

Theobromine is an alkaloid of the family methylxanthine. The another member of this family is caffeine, which is a naturally occurring amine that contains nitrogen as its main molecule. Alkaloids are produced by plants naturally although nowadays the amines that are produced by the fungi and animals are also known as the alkaloids.

Theobromine name is coined from the word “Theobroma,” which is the genus of the cacao tree. This word Theobroma is derived from the Greek words Theo, which means God and broma, which means food. Thus Theobroma means “food of the Gods.” Ine is added to Theobroma as it is given to all other alkaloids.

Cats And Chocolate Don’t Get Along

The methylxanthine Theobromine can be metabolized by humans but not cats. Cats cannot digest the theobromine, and it remains in their blood for up to hours. This toxic ingredient is not cleared from the blood, and that results in accumulation and toxicity. Not only cats, but theobromine is also toxic to other animals as well such as dogs, parrots, voles, horses, etc.
100-200mg/kg is the lethal dose which results in the poisoning by theobromine. Veterinarians report a rise in cases of chocolate poisoning in the cats during the holidays of Christmas and Easter as the result of pet owners treating their pets lovingly with chocolates. In the case of any doubt on whether a cat has ingested chocolate, the advice of a veterinarian should be taken.

Listed Below Is The Amount Of Theobromine Present In The Following Types Of Chocolates.

  • Dry coco powder: 800mg/28gm
  • Baking chocolate: 50mg/28gm
  • Semi-sweet/dark chocolate: 50-160mg/28gm
  • Milk chocolate: 150-160mg/28gm

There are a couple of food that should never be given to the cats such as alcohol, coffee, caffeine, energy drinks, tea, dairy products, raw meat, fish, eggs, fat trimmings, garlic, onion, grapes, resins, xylitol and of course chocolates.

Thus, if you are looking for the answers to the question can cat eat chocolate, you can see how harmful chocolates can be and thus under no circumstances it should be given to cats. Hence, it can be concluded that cats and chocolate never go together.

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